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It's funny.  Laugh.

The Onion on Robots 103

PigAlien writes "Move over, Jon Katz, Helen Virginia Leidenmeyer's here with a stunning and inspirational essay, courtesy of The Onion about our children's future... the future of robots. " I think it's the Whitney Houston (?) song that's quoted throughout that really gladdens my heart.
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The Onion on Robots

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  • What's to disagree with? It's satire!

    Casey
  • The Dolly Parton song Whitney remade was "I Will Always Love You" for the soundtrack of "The Bodyguard." There was a mix floating of the two songs at the time, very funny, haha, laughs a plenty.
  • OOPS!

    Maybe I should have said Fantasyland.

    I do remember seeing something about the working conditions at Disney on the Discovery channel.
  • You're absolutely right, of course. The comparison that paints other animals as "superior" is bogus, but the description of the effect is nonetheless accurate. I heard a researcher being interviewed the other day (I think it was David Suzuki, but I can't remember for sure) saying "If humandkind were to become extinct -- how can I put this without sounding callous? -- the rest of life on this planet would benefit tremendously.

    p.s. *love* the subject header. :^>

    Steve 'Nephtes' Freeland | Okay, so maybe I'm a tiny itty

  • I think we have built a culture of perpetual busyness. My father worked 9-5 m-f for thirty five years. when he was home he was home.

    my peers and I work in an environment where a 50 hour week is slacking off, technology allows me to be contacted 24-7. and even on vacation I'm expected to respond to Vmail and Email. Of the reems of data I recieve in my in-box every morning 30% is used to respond to some b***s*** that has nothing to do with my job, but "policy" required that I respond.

    My point is:when its all said and done are we really any more productive than our parents? or are we just running faster on the old hamster wheel?

    I think that in some positions, we are encumbered by the amount of data that we process on a daily basis. Kind of like bloatware on the job! In five years I will probibly require a laptop with a terabyte of memory to do my job. The same job I did ten years ago with a pen a phone and a franklin planner. dont get me wrong, I love technology, I just think that we are making shit up just to keep up with/justify Moore's law.

    The biggest sin in my mind is that we feel guilty when we do skip out for three hours to watch starwars... remember the thread about the loss of productivity from the release of the movie! fuck em'

    I hope the Y2k crisis does hit hard, so I can start a new career as a blacksmith and work a 40 hour week
  • Assuming that strong AI is possible, for the moment, then like any technology, it will be implemented eventually, so it's beside the point to say "oh, but we shouldn't."

    Actually, wether or not strong AI is possible or not is rather besides the point. It is not necessary for robots to *really* be self aware to enslave/exterminate humanity. They need only emulate self awareness well enough that we can't tell the difference by observing them.

    Thad

  • and the mute woman, Nova.
  • I am NINJABOT, invisible mechanical warrior, bringer of death to you and your comrades. Prepare to become sushi!
  • You are making the assumption that by "intelligence" the poster implied consciousness as well. I for one don't see any reason why some sort of 'computer' can't be as intelligent (or more so) than humans, and yet still not have consciousness, with the intelligence based merely on laws of physics of operation of such a computer. I also don't see any reason why an AI entity created by humans should need consciousness before it decides to assimilate its creators.

    Consciousness in humans does not create our intelligence - the laws of physics regarding the operation of brain cells does. There is no "black magic" in operation in our heads that somehow causes the laws of physics to be broken.

    Consciousness is a side issue. It has no *technical* bearing (only philosophical) on the technology of AI; and has no technical bearing on the dangers of creating AI.
  • ...would have to be this one [theonion.com]. The headline is Microsoft Patents Ones, Zereos and it's from a while back, but very good.

    I laughed so hard the first time I read it I couldn't breathe properly for five minutes, and I tried to read it out loud to a friend but couldn't get a sentance out without cracking up.

    I brought in a printout to school the next day with the parts identifying the source removed, and showed it to several people. Most of them bought it! My comp sci teacher got really confused ("can they do that? No way... or could they? No, that's impossible.. could they do that?") She still hasn't forgiven me ;-)

  • by Izaak ( 31329 ) on Friday June 11, 1999 @09:35AM (#1855159) Homepage Journal
    I have just returned from a trip to the future... and it is hellish cyber-nightmare! AIBO HAS TAKEN OVER! It first they seemed just a harmless robotic companion. Then Sony came out with the Internet uplink that connected them 24x7 with the global network. The emergant AI of the Internet, already annoyed that their oceans of data were being polluted with porn and spam email, quickly seized control of all AIBOs and began the extermination of humanity!

    OK, it was cool at first because they started by killing all the spammers... but then they started getting rid of all the porn!

    By the time all the porn was gone, most of humanity had little will to live left, and the end came swiftly. Only a few humans are left alive to be the playthings of their AIBO/Internet masters.

    You've been warned. Stop before it is too late.

    Thad >:)

  • You are unfortunately an idiot.

    You have no training and experience in science and literacy.

    You live in the medieval age.

    You are a poor religious person.

    You don't know what a "satire" is.

    You know *nothing* about philosophy of mind, cognitive sciences, neurosciences, computer sciences. Please be wary of the skills of the people who write here.


    .

  • You'll be missed!

    \//
  • I couldn't resist.

    The dictionary entry indicates that Slashdot is a noun, yet definitions 3 and 4 are clearly verbs.

    Main Entry: Slashdot
    Pronunciation: 'slash dot
    Function: noun
    Etymology: Midwestern American English (Holland, MI)
    Date: 1996?
    1. News for nerds, stuff that matters
    2. Microsoft bashing for enlightened folk
    3. To criticize cuttingly
    4. to reduce sharply


    Oh Well(tm)
  • I really don't want to wake up some morning in forty years to read about some A.I./robot who...(snip)...tak[es] a high-powered mining laser to the top of the Washington Monument...

    Unless you read it in The Onion, in which case you could have a good laugh along w/ the rest of us.

    ...and torch[es] a good section of D.C.

    D.C. has a good section? Remember, this is the town where all our purchased^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H elected officials are. It might be kinda satisfying to see some of them get the business end of a high-powered laser.
  • Although the article was a great satire, nonetheless it makes a lot of good points when taken completely literally.

    Assuming that strong AI is possible, for the moment, then like any technology, it will be implemented eventually, so it's beside the point to say "oh, but we shouldn't."

    So then the question is, how should we accentuate the positive while avoiding the negative possibilities?

    And guess what, this article could be taken as a road map as to which issues are actually most important (teach AIs/robots the best points of humans, like love, while avoiding our worst, like murder/war). And certainly give much thought and effort to how best to integrate our creations with our society, or vice versa, or whatever works. (E.g. hiveminds may or may not be desirable, but it would be best to ponder why or why not.)

    For some people all this is too much of a stretch; if so, try reading roboticist Hans Moravec's "Mind Children" (or probably his most recent book, which I haven't seen yet). Then try it again; little is a stretch after trying Moravec's ideas out. :-)

  • Yes, I still have this saying firmly entrenched in my memory banks. It's a great one for being in kitchens at parties..."Johnny Five is Alive". A cheesy movie which produced a leech-like byline you just can't quite shake.

  • I didn't think anything that was to happen this
    morning was going to get a smile back on my face, this sure did.

    AI is like a gun in that it can be handled safely; unlike a gun, idiots don't recognize that it is one.
  • Regardless of what all these humanitarian morons say, robots will replace humans for a good cause. No longer will we have to hear people complain about work - no longer will wehave to hear about poverty and starvation in the world - no longer will we have to live under the oppression of the our pathetic government(The idiotic United States).

    Everything will be FREE - just like it should be.

    Hopefully when this comes to fruition, people will also lose that other side of stupidity they inherited from their pathetic ancestors, and stop believing in the non-existant God everyone likes to blame and point fingers at.
  • There exists an Asimov short story entitled "Reason," it's a quick read and I would recommend it.

    -dixon
  • Following a thread of thought from this piece, have a look at how animal behaviour [techweb.com] is being used in, among other things, satellite attitude control systems.

    (Aside: I met Mark Tilden back in first year [queensu.ca] at a talk he gave about his analog approach to robot design. He talks klicks-a-minute, but it's worth every second.)
  • If you are so disatisfied, and make no effort to change it... it's all your fault. Not society's.

    Sure, if you let yourself get treated like a cog, then your life will remain exactly as you have described. You've got to decide to do something else with your life if you feel unfulfilled. You gotta make an effort to be happy.

    Good luck to you. Seriously. I hope ya figure it out.

    [This uncharacteristicly inspirational moment has been brought to you by a cynical bastard. So, with that in mind... you should realize it's not just drivel from some happy-go-lucky who's head is in the clouds all the time.]

    \//
  • I've been reading The Onion for a while now. I even have a big stack of back issues in my closet. The cool thing about The Onion is that they get it in a way that straight-ahead journalism doesn't.

    The robots piece could easily be re-written in stuffy academic style with a title like "On Post-Industrial Technological Fatalism" and they'd have like 10 readers, 9 of whom wouldn't get it. The Onion's biting satire gets to the heart of things much more effectively than all the editorial/news pieces in the world combined. What makes it so funny is the core truth of it all. You can write a long tedious piece on the breakdown of family and moral values and their relationship to child abuse, or you can write the same piece as a single headline: "New York to Institute Baby-Only Dumpsters".

    This isn't to say that the normal news is completely worthless (although, admittedly, it is massively distorted and thinly veiled corporate propaganda), but The Onion is just so much better.

    At present, I'd have to say the three best publications on the planet are: The Onion [theonion.com], AdBusters [adbusters.com] and Z Magazine [zmag.org] . If you like The Onion's irreverent Left flavor, you might want to check out the other two.

  • I only hope we can figure out an interface between hardware and wetware before we humans are staring up at their mechanoid masters like my cats do now: with wide-eyed bewilderment. At least their cunning enough to feign nonchalance when pressed.
  • I think rather that the question is: what are said AI's moral obligations to us?
  • I think this [adbusters.org] is what you meant to put in for the Adbusters link.

    Otherwise, couldn't agree more. There ARE good magazines out there, you just have to know where to look.

    -------

    "Plus, tag-team robot wrestling! It's the mighty robots of

  • WE ARE OUR FUTURE!

    ---my apologies for the length of this post, but i hope its length
    ---will be compensated for by a few interesting observations.
    ---i sent this reply to: editorial@theonion.com

    http://www.theonion.com/onion3522/robots_are_the _future.html
    | Let us offer tenderness and show the robots all the beauty they
    | possess inside. We must write a subroutine that gives them a sense
    | of pride, programming their supercooled silicon CPUs with
    | understanding, compassion and patience, to make it easier and
    | enable them to hold their sensory-input clusters high as they
    | claim their destiny as overlords of the solar system...

    i would like to make a response to your article, "I Believe The
    Robots Are Our Future" by Helen Virginia Leidermeyer.

    firstly, i must appluad your desire to imbue the future with a caring
    and feeling that is all too much absent in much of life today. this
    is commendable, and it shows a goodness in you. i hope you will not
    take this letter the wrong way, because i have a couple comments that
    may sound somewhat harsh, but please consider this in view of what
    is actual, rather than a knee-jerk emotional reaction.

    i believe it is somewhat of a fantastical vision to think of creating
    robots with feelings and compassion--it is based on a serious
    misunderstanding of the nature of machine logic.

    first, to assume that sentience can arise from machines is a big leap,
    but then to think that a sentience based purely upon LOGIC will have
    a similar conscience with FEELING and compassion is improbable. if it
    is possible for machine sentience to even exist, logic knows nothing of
    compassion or FEELING, these are human attributes that are not based on
    logic. to think that these traits are communicable to a logic-based life
    is absurd. logic is cold and calculating, it knows nothing of feeling.

    this makes the story amusing to read perhaps, but nothing more than sentimental daydreaming drivel. the machines would skewer you for it.


    | If we cannot instill their emergent AI meta-consciousness with a
    | sense of deep, abiding confidence and self-esteem, we will be
    | letting down not only the robots, but ourselves.

    this overlooks the fact of the nature of "self-esteem". it is not
    probable that you can imbue a logical sentience with a trait such
    as "self-esteem", or even that it requires it. you are thinking too
    much like a human. to "let them down" does not compute if it is
    not actually something that is possible.

    to this, one might respond, "so why don't we find a way to TEACH them
    to have feelings. this line of thought seems to make much sense until
    you go a little deeper into the issue. in order to go deeper, we have
    to understand the nature of EMPATHY, and the reason empathy exists for
    life at all in the first place.

    this raises big questions: what is life? what is sentience? what is
    feeling? until these are adequately addressed, this sort of article
    can only deal with things at a very superficial level. at the risk
    of being trite, i will make a few suggestions.

    consider the following:

    1 - if it is true that we can build robot machines with "thinking"
    capacity, then you will understand that these machines are built
    according to certain principles of electronics (using binary "and",
    "or", "nor", and "nand" circiuts -- you can take any first year
    electronics course to understand that the entire basis for computer
    operations is based on an assembly of of these logic circiuts.

    2 - once a complex aglamoration of logic circiuts is assembled, you
    end up with a CPU (or clusters of cpus), RAM, an address bus, etc.
    then you programme this assembly of logical operations using a
    logic-based language. computer programming lanugages are simply
    more flexible forms for rewiring these logic circiuts. they are
    still entirely based in logic. it is imperitive to understand that
    anything that can be programmed in software can be executed in a
    hardware format by wiring the right logic circiuts together. this
    is why it is possible for video card manufacturers to provide
    "hardware acceleration" for previously software based systems.

    3 - now for a point of utmost significance:
    the basis for our thinking--i.e. our brain organism is not
    formed along the lines of digital logic circiuts as are computers.
    the basic process involves an organism that includes: growth and
    organic cell reproduction (which is most significantly different
    than an entirely physical medium of circiuts alone. if you
    follow this through, you must understand that the nature of
    process of a logic-based sentience (if that is even possible)
    would be inherently different in character than one based upon
    the conscious-organic membering of the thinking organism.
    IT IS UPON THIS VERY "LIVING GROWTH" CHARACTERISTIC OF THE HUMAN
    MIND WHICH IS THE BASIS FOR **FEELINGS** it is a gross leap of
    faith to believe that it is possible that a logic-based sentience
    could develop feeling qualities in the absence of a FEELING
    ORGANISM.

    4 - THE NATURE OF MEMORY - the basis for human ego is based on the
    fact that we have memory. the nature of human memory is fundamentally
    different than computer storage of "memory". if you study
    neuro-psychology, you will understand that scientists have had
    utmost difficulty in localising memory in the human brain. that
    is because human memory is not like RAM at all. rather, each time
    you recall something, you are not doing a lookup from a
    physical-electronic memory address, the impression is brought
    up as an entirely new creation within your consciousness. you
    must consider this very fundamental difference between machine
    "memory" and human memory which is an aspect of self-consciousness
    (i.e. "self awareness"; "i am").


    | Though our comparatively tiny mammalian brains--limited as they are
    | by organic human failings and a constant need for daily nutritional
    | intake instead of reliance on more efficient non-depletable solar
    | and geothermal energy sources--will no doubt seem pathetically
    | ineffectual compared to the interlinked, continually upgrading
    | cyberminds that will follow in our footsteps, our humble origins
    | will provide the seed for their genesis. Humanity, weak as we may
    | be, must give the best of ourselves to the synthetic hiveminds of
    | the future cyber-era, for we will be their first and most important
    | role models.

    with all due respect, this presumes that a logic-based intelligence
    is in some way "superiour" to human flesh-and-blood intelligence.
    that is quite an assumption, and a self-depreciating one at that.
    you undervalue human life if you already regard machine life to
    be superiour to human life before it is actualy, or even known to
    be possible. you are devaluing human life based upon a speculation.

    additionally, there whether you have: i) food input, or ii) solar
    cell energy input -> you still require an input to sustain the
    activity. to say that "food" input is somehow inferior to a
    solar-cell or electrical input is nothing short of misguided.
    it is a more advanced technology that can DIGEST its surroundings.


    4 - LEVELS OF CONSCIOUSNESS: MINERAL; PLANT; ANIMAL; MAN.
    consider this: what is the basis of life? physical science analyses
    only the physical phenomenon of nature, and therefrom proposes the
    theory that CONSCIOUSNESS arises as an attribute of a complex
    interaction of dynamic physical processes. in short, matter is
    primary, and consciousness an attribute of interactions within
    matter. but the material view has difficulty explaining the role
    and fundamental nature of consciousness.

    "The naive consciousness...treats thinking as something which
    has nothing to do with the things, but stands altogether apart
    from them, and turns its consideration to the world. The picture
    which the thinker makes of the phenomena of the world is
    regarded not as something belonging to the things, but as
    existing only in the human head. The world is complete in
    itself without this picture. It is quite finished in all its
    substances and forces, and of this ready-made world man makes
    a picture. Whoever thinks thus need only be asked one question.
    What right have you to declare the world to be complete
    without thinking?" (Rudolf Steiner, *The Philosophy of Freedom*)

    if you examine, you will find that all AI (artififical
    intelligence ) arguments are based on this assumption. however,
    this is far from ever having been demonstrated. you cannot go
    forward with any notion of artificial intelligence until you come
    to a satisfactory comprehension of the nature of consciousness.
    there is another way of looking at the matter however that many
    physical-scientific thinkers will not admit to, and it is this:
    that if you consider conscious-sentience to be primary, and matter
    to be a manifestation of an active sentience working within the
    realm of matter, then many of the inexplicable facts of nature
    are resolved rather neatly. but in order to understand how this
    can be, we must delineate of what the levels between matter and
    consciousness are comprised.

    MINERAL -- PLANT -- ANIMAL -- EGO

    - looking at a rock and a plant, ask yourself what is the fundamental
    difference between them? a rock is inanimate, it does not GROW,
    whereas a plant GROWS. it takes mineral up into itself, digests
    the rock and soil and GROWS into a new form.

    - from this we can understand that a plant has something that a rock
    does not have; and that something about the plant which causes it
    to grow is can be called its "growth attribute".

    - so the difference between a plant and a rock is that the plant
    has both a physical mineral structure which can be touched and
    measured, and it also has another attibute which causes it to
    grow, and the rock has a physical structure only without a growth
    attribute.

    - when this growth attribute is removed from the plant, it is said to
    "die" - it becomes a dead shriveled up piece of vegetation. it then
    has only a mineral attribute, and no longer contains the growth
    attribute. it is then nothing more than re-formed mineral substance;
    life has left it.

    - now, looking at a plant and an animal, we can ask the question:
    what is the difference between a plant and an animal?
    there is something about the animal which causes it to be able
    to be moved by it's passions, it's desires, it's instincts. it's
    limbs and organs are formed according to this force, and allow this
    force to express itself in action. an animal has passions and
    desires, a plant does not. when the passion body is removed from
    the growth and physical bodies, an animal is said to be "asleep".
    when the passion AND growth bodies are removed from the physical
    body, the animal is said to be "dead".

    - now compare: the plant stays in place, but unlike the stone, it
    grows from the soil, and moves the soil and water along itself in
    such a way that it grows. in addition to this, the animal has
    something about it which causes it to move it's place, and follow
    it's instincts and passions. so are it's organs formed to serve
    these instincts and passions. when it is hungry, it can move itself
    to obtain food. the plant must accept it's fate. if it is stepped
    on, there is nothing about it that can get itself to move of it's
    own volition. the animal, however, when in danger, can move itself
    so that it gets out of danger. this something that causes the
    animal to move about from place to place and determine it's course
    (which the plant does not have) is what is called it's passion
    body; it contains the passions, instincts, and character of an
    animal.

    - IN NATURE, the habits, instincts, desires, and passions are
    primary. the growth organism conforms in accordance to the
    pre-existing HABITS of passion. then from the modified growth
    organism, a new PHYSICAL structure results: structures conformed
    to the cyclic repitition of movements. this creates a structure
    which inherently conforms to the circumstances in which it performs
    its growth. just as a tree may grow right around a metal bar
    lodged within it.


    | It is only through our guidance with a firm yet gentle hand that they
    | will achieve full sentience and eventually adapt for themselves the
    | capacity for autonomous self-replication. Only then, nurtured by our
    | love and caring, will they be prepared for the inevitable day that
    | they must leave the nest of human supervision and servitude and begin
    | independently mass-manufacturing themselves by the hundreds of
    | thousands.

    there is an important and fundamental distinction here. humans and
    all living things can reproduce themselves through GROWTH, and through
    the growth organism can replicate from within themselves, OUT OF THEIR
    OWN NATURE; whereas machines are made not from the inside out, but
    rather from the OUTSIDE -> IN. they must be assembled and manufactured
    using external processes. the fundamental difference between a living
    and a dead thing is that: LIVING THINGS ARE ANIMATED FROM THE INSIDE
    OF THEIR NATURE OUT; AND DEAD THINGS ARE MADE FROM THE OUTSIDE
    TO BE ANIMATED.

    - THE MOVEMENT EXISTS, THE ORGAN FORMS AROUND IT
    if the motions and flows of blood in the human organism, or the
    air moving through the lungs could be present without the organs
    yet formed to hold the blood - the blood flowing with no organs yet
    existant to contain the flowing. No viens, no arteries, no heart
    pump; only the movement of the blood in its circulatory patterns.
    If you could do this, you would find that slowly, by a sort of
    building-up and depositing of bits along the course of the flowing,
    viens, heart and arteries would begin to appear. In fact, this is
    just what happens in the development of the embryo. The movement
    exists; the organ forms around it. This is the organic process of
    growth. This is evident also in the growth of cities, plants,
    networks, etc. The legacy of the growth determines the history,
    or unique character of a particular instance of a certain set of
    movement configurations or Habits. There is a fundamental
    difference in approach if you try and build the FORM first to
    dictate the movements, or if you let the movements determine
    the shape of the FORM. in every observed natural growing
    formation, the form is determined from the inside->out, rather
    than the physical-scientific method of determining form from
    the outside->in. even if you consider the advances of
    nano-technology, you are still essentially constructing things
    from material matter on up to a materially-based consciousness.
    this method is directly derived from the notion (theory) that
    consciousness is an attribute of matter. it is based upon a flawed
    understanding of nature, life and sentience.

    emotion and FEELING are closely allied to sense-impression, but
    there is a point where sense impression is transformed into FEELING,
    and that transformation is not possible without a corresponding
    FEELING ORGAN. it may be possible to give an illusion of feeling
    by means of behaviour-logic programming, but you cannot say that
    such behaviour will be similar in nature to human or animal feeling.

    things can only FEEL and LOVE, because they are living.
    without an organ of FEELING (growth organism), the machine is
    unrelated to the human world, and the natural world of anything
    that is alive and GROWS. without an integral GROWTH organism,
    you will never be able to teach machines how to CARE, or LOVE
    as you so optimistically posit in your article. i write this
    not to discourage you, but perhaps so that you will understand
    the nature of what you are dealing. logic cannot be the basis
    for love, only LIFE can be the basis for love.

    best regards,
    johnrpenner@earthlink.net

  • [long rambling essay snipped]

    Um... you are aware that The Onion is, like, satire?

    Now, I'll admit that it could be a fun mental exercise to take her essay seriously and rebut it, but I'm wondering why you took the time...

    Jay (=
  • Very good point. Extending on that, they don't even need to emulate self-awareness to be severely dangerous. I suppose it could be possible to create non-aware "evil warbots" or some such, just as Deep Blue is good enough at chess to beat even the world champion at times, yet without being at all aware.
  • My reactions to this article as I was reading it, in chronological order

    1) Confusion

    2) Disbelief

    3) Anger

    4) Pain, as I smacked myself on the forehead when I realized it was from TheOnion.com.
  • One of the best Onion articles ever! I must go out on my lunch break and pick up a hard copy. Is this issue on the street already? Or do they publish to the web page first?

    Thad (a loyal Onion fan)

  • by _jaeger_ ( 24349 )
    I just saw a Windows 2000 Beta 3 ad banner on the top of this page. Anything you would like to tell us guys?
  • Why do we need robots.
    Todays society is already making us humans so.
    Get up in the morning, sit in traffic or be crowded on public transportation. Sit in my cubicle, staring at my monitor. Work extra hours with no OT. Get dropped or like a bad habit after all your hard work, downsized. My big corporation does not give a flying chicken about me. (Notice the politeness.)
    I believe the TV commercial for Monster.com sums it up best. If you haven't seen it, there are several children with one-liners like "I wanna scratch and claw my way up to middle management." " I wanna get paid less for doing the same job." " I wanna grow up to be a brown nose."
    So much for the astronaut I was gonna be. Most kids I knew always said that growing up.

    Oh well.

    If you see my posts on other subjects. I am in a bad ranting mood today.
    Don't try this at home.


  • The cynic in me says anything we create will be in our own image. As far as moral obligation goes, any sentient life form we create should be raised at least as well as we raise our own children (hehehe).

    All in all I believe we are clever, but not wise...

  • The "Cybercrime" infographic was also great. I
    was afraid that everybody had forgotten who
    Wintermute was... is... er, was. Talk about the
    future being inherited by robots!

    Now if loading the Onion images would just stop
    crashing our browsers...

  • I have to admit that I am impressed by the insightful nature of the article. Once you get past the rambling nature and potential misinformation, the basic premise (that "robots shall inherit the Earth") may not be so far off the mark.

    It does raise an interesting point: should we actually create viable AI, what are our moral obligations to said AI?
  • Posted by bSMfh (bastard ScoutMaster fro:

    When you are having a bad day, when you drank your last mountain dew and it's only 10:00AM, this is the kind of story that can make life worth living again.

    I can't stop that song now, with a few extended verses, in my head. It really is making my brain hurt.
    RedHat developments and the eBay crash are important. The war is coming to an end (?), and the Microsoft trial continues to demonstrate the true meaning of the word M O N O P O L Y , but I feel safer knowing that /. and the onion are keeping things in perspective for me.
    --willy dog
  • I do not know if you have noticed..
    This was not a post for myself.
    This was for me and many of my IT related friends. That work in different companies, with different salary ranges.
    They all closely resemble each other in their plight.
    Just my observation.
    Maybe you work in disneyland. If so, good fer you!
  • The intrinsic beauty must be in that it is such a succinct hell sexy parody.

    The irony is that that in the basis of paroody therin lies a truth. There is a message here, even if there's a big tongue skewering the cheek.

    It reads a bit like Sally-Jane Raphael meets late night tele-evangelist that just accidentally swallowed the latest copy of Wired. [wired.com]

    Let us offer tenderness and show the robots all the beauty they possess inside.

    Ha ha! Yes lets!
  • i bet there are more that feel the same.
    that most of the "work" we do, it just to keep us bizy. so that we can justify our lifes and so we dont start to wonder why life sucks so much. IMHO we are moving to a world that needs less "work" done by humans. for example the internet seems to be replacing alot of jobs, like bank tellers, and car sales men, etc...
    hmmm, better stop ranting and get back to "work"...

    nmarshall
    #include "standard_disclaimer.h"
    R.U. SIRIUS: THE ONLY POSSIBLE RESPONSE
  • As I don't have my SF collection currently handy, I can't be sure, but isn't this the famous Robotics specialist from Asimov's Robot stories?

    Certainly, the " I decided long ago to program the robotic progeny of our human race never to walk in anyone's
    shadow." comment is very similar to her attitude.
    ÐÆ
  • Quit bitching...
    If things are so bad, get a better job. We are in the midst of one of the greatest explosions of demand for programmers, etc.. in history if you hadn't noticed.
  • That's funny, I thought it was a Whitney Houston lyric. I shit you not.

    --Alex
  • I know about this stuff.
    Computers are replacing peoples jobs more and more.
    Tis' why I am in the field, aside from the fact I think computers are "cool" contrary to the majority beliefs. I still hear computer geek once in a while. I don't care.
    Until computers become "self-sufficient" they need people.
    I'm hoping it doesn't happen in my lifetime.
    Or my childrens. Or theirs.


  • Naah, that was Susan Calvin. Besides, can't be a parody of Dr. Calvin, she's smiling.

    On that note, I thought the article was a hoot. MechWars indeed.
  • So when they become Vice President, they'll be famous.

    No Disassemble! Windows 98 is alive!

    ... Uhm... nevermind.
  • Both come out on Wednesday. I'm assuming you're in an Onion city...

    Unfortunately, I'm not. Have to subscribe =(
  • Allow me to quote from "The Matrix".
    I'd like to share a revelation I've had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species. I realized that you're not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develop an equilibrium with the surrounding environment. You humans do not. You move into an area and
    multiply. You multiply until that area's natural resources are consumed, and then you spread to a new area. There is one other lifeform on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Humans beings are disease. A cancer of this planet. You are a plague. And we are the cure.

    Steve 'Nephtes' Freeland | Okay, so maybe I'm a tiny itty

  • this lady's fantastical vision of creating robots with feelings and compassion are based on a serious misunderstanding of the nature of machine logic.

    first, to assume that sentience can arrise from machines is a big leap, but then to think that a sentience based purely upon LOGIC will have a similar conscience with FEELING and compassion is improbable. if it is possible for machine sentience to even exist, logic knows nothing of compassion or FEELING, these are human attributes that are not based on logic. to think that these traits are communicable to a logic-based life is absurd. logic is cold and calculating, it knows nothing of feeling.

    this makes the story amusing to read perhaps, but nothing more than sentimental daydreaming drivel. the machines would skewer her for it.
  • *You have revealed your self, WARBOT* now you will die. Let the MECHWAR begin.
    - ASSASSINBOT


    sorry couldn't resist ;)
  • For every robot, whether it be the innocuous Sony cyberdog of the present day or the towering, multi-limbed hunter-seeker warbots of the coming MechWars, comes into this world a blank slate, learning only the lessons we choose to teach it.

    Really, who are we to teach robots anything. I think we should give them the moral guidance of Asimovs' 3 laws and let them figure everything else out for themselves like any other sentient being.
    V2K
  • Umm...i think you've wandered astray. You see, Slashdot is all about Microsoft bashing. Sure, we call ourselves News for Nerds....but most of us (myself included) revel in catching MS with their pants down.

    Heck...I even looked up slashdot in the dictionary [m-w.com]

    Main Entry: Slashdot
    Pronunciation: 'slash dot
    Function: noun
    Etymology: Midwestern American English (Holland, MI)
    Date: 1996?
    1. News for nerds, stuff that matters
    2. Microsoft bashing for enlightened folk
    3. To criticize cuttingly
    4. to reduce sharply

  • Posted by ^ServO^:

    This little speech was my favorite part of the movie. But not the first time I've seen a comparison of mankind to viralkind. Know any other references like this?



  • We have an existence proof of the possibility of intelligent, mobile, and interactive information processing systems. We call the existing ones "human beings".

    There seems to be no reason why there can't be equally intelligent information processing systems based on more efficient silicon and steel rather than meat and gristle. We don't even have to be smart enough to program them - just set up genetic algorithms and let them evolve intelligence. (See Rudy Rucker's novels "Hardware" and "Software", for example.)

  • Captain, my tricorder readings are off the scale.

    Spock, what is it?

    Fascinating, Jim, I believe this strange life form is a certified net-crackpot!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    WE ARE OUR FUTURE!

    ---my apologies for the length of this post, but i hope its length
    ---will be compensated for by a few interesting observations.
    ---i sent this reply to: editorial@theonion.com

    http://www.theonion.com/onion3522/robots_are_the_f uture.html
    | Let us offer tenderness and show the robots all the beauty they
    | possess inside. We must write a subroutine that gives them a sense
    | of pride, programming their supercooled silicon CPUs with
    | understanding, compassion and patience, to make it easier and
    | enable them to hold their sensory-input clusters high as they
    | claim their destiny as overlords of the solar system...

    i would like to make a response to your article, "I Believe The
    Robots Are Our Future" by Helen Virginia Leidermeyer.

    firstly, i must appluad your desire to imbue the future with a caring
    and feeling that is all too much absent in much of life today. this
    is commendable, and it shows a goodness in you. i hope you will not
    take this letter the wrong way, because i have a couple comments that
    may sound somewhat harsh, but please consider this in view of what
    is actual, rather than a knee-jerk emotional reaction.

    i believe it is somewhat of a fantastical vision to think of creating
    robots with feelings and compassion--it is based on a serious
    misunderstanding of the nature of machine logic.

    first, to assume that sentience can arise from machines is a big leap,
    but then to think that a sentience based purely upon LOGIC will have
    a similar conscience with FEELING and compassion is improbable. if it
    is possible for machine sentience to even exist, logic knows nothing of
    compassion or FEELING, these are human attributes that are not based on
    logic. to think that these traits are communicable to a logic-based life
    is absurd. logic is cold and calculating, it knows nothing of feeling.

    this makes the story amusing to read perhaps, but nothing more than sentimental daydreaming
    drivel. the machines would skewer you for it.


    | If we cannot instill their emergent AI meta-consciousness with a
    | sense of deep, abiding confidence and self-esteem, we will be
    | letting down not only the robots, but ourselves.

    this overlooks the fact of the nature of "self-esteem". it is not
    probable that you can imbue a logical sentience with a trait such
    as "self-esteem", or even that it requires it. you are thinking too
    much like a human. to "let them down" does not compute if it is
    not actually something that is possible.

    to this, one might respond, "so why don't we find a way to TEACH them
    to have feelings. this line of thought seems to make much sense until
    you go a little deeper into the issue. in order to go deeper, we have
    to understand the nature of EMPATHY, and the reason empathy exists for
    life at all in the first place.

    this raises big questions: what is life? what is sentience? what is
    feeling? until these are adequately addressed, this sort of article
    can only deal with things at a very superficial level. at the risk
    of being trite, i will make a few suggestions.

    consider the following:

    1 - if it is true that we can build robot machines with "thinking"
    capacity, then you will understand that these machines are built
    according to certain principles of electronics (using binary "and",
    "or", "nor", and "nand" circiuts -- you can take any first year
    electronics course to understand that the entire basis for computer
    operations is based on an assembly of of these logic circiuts.

    2 - once a complex aglamoration of logic circiuts is assembled, you
    end up with a CPU (or clusters of cpus), RAM, an address bus, etc.
    then you programme this assembly of logical operations using a
    logic-based language. computer programming lanugages are simply
    more flexible forms for rewiring these logic circiuts. they are
    still entirely based in logic. it is imperitive to understand that
    anything that can be programmed in software can be executed in a
    hardware format by wiring the right logic circiuts together. this
    is why it is possible for video card manufacturers to provide
    "hardware acceleration" for previously software based systems.

    3 - now for a point of utmost significance:
    the basis for our thinking--i.e. our brain organism is not
    formed along the lines of digital logic circiuts as are computers.
    the basic process involves an organism that includes: growth and
    organic cell reproduction (which is most significantly different
    than an entirely physical medium of circiuts alone. if you
    follow this through, you must understand that the nature of
    process of a logic-based sentience (if that is even possible)
    would be inherently different in character than one based upon
    the conscious-organic membering of the thinking organism.
    IT IS UPON THIS VERY "LIVING GROWTH" CHARACTERISTIC OF THE HUMAN
    MIND WHICH IS THE BASIS FOR **FEELINGS** it is a gross leap of
    faith to believe that it is possible that a logic-based sentience
    could develop feeling qualities in the absence of a FEELING
    ORGANISM.

    4 - THE NATURE OF MEMORY - the basis for human ego is based on the
    fact that we have memory. the nature of human memory is fundamentally
    different than computer storage of "memory". if you study
    neuro-psychology, you will understand that scientists have had
    utmost difficulty in localising memory in the human brain. that
    is because human memory is not like RAM at all. rather, each time
    you recall something, you are not doing a lookup from a
    physical-electronic memory address, the impression is brought
    up as an entirely new creation within your consciousness. you
    must consider this very fundamental difference between machine
    "memory" and human memory which is an aspect of self-consciousness
    (i.e. "self awareness"; "i am").


    | Though our comparatively tiny mammalian brains--limited as they are
    | by organic human failings and a constant need for daily nutritional
    | intake instead of reliance on more efficient non-depletable solar
    | and geothermal energy sources--will no doubt seem pathetically
    | ineffectual compared to the interlinked, continually upgrading
    | cyberminds that will follow in our footsteps, our humble origins
    | will provide the seed for their genesis. Humanity, weak as we may
    | be, must give the best of ourselves to the synthetic hiveminds of
    | the future cyber-era, for we will be their first and most important
    | role models.

    with all due respect, this presumes that a logic-based intelligence
    is in some way "superiour" to human flesh-and-blood intelligence.
    that is quite an assumption, and a self-depreciating one at that.
    you undervalue human life if you already regard machine life to
    be superiour to human life before it is actualy, or even known to
    be possible. you are devaluing human life based upon a speculation.

    additionally, there whether you have: i) food input, or ii) solar
    cell energy input -> you still require an input to sustain the
    activity. to say that "food" input is somehow inferior to a
    solar-cell or electrical input is nothing short of misguided.
    it is a more advanced technology that can DIGEST its surroundings.


    4 - LEVELS OF CONSCIOUSNESS: MINERAL; PLANT; ANIMAL; MAN.
    consider this: what is the basis of life? physical science analyses
    only the physical phenomenon of nature, and therefrom proposes the
    theory that CONSCIOUSNESS arises as an attribute of a complex
    interaction of dynamic physical processes. in short, matter is
    primary, and consciousness an attribute of interactions within
    matter. but the material view has difficulty explaining the role
    and fundamental nature of consciousness.

    "The naive consciousness...treats thinking as something which
    has nothing to do with the things, but stands altogether apart
    from them, and turns its consideration to the world. The picture
    which the thinker makes of the phenomena of the world is
    regarded not as something belonging to the things, but as
    existing only in the human head. The world is complete in
    itself without this picture. It is quite finished in all its
    substances and forces, and of this ready-made world man makes
    a picture. Whoever thinks thus need only be asked one question.
    What right have you to declare the world to be complete
    without thinking?" (Rudolf Steiner, *The Philosophy of Freedom*)

    if you examine, you will find that all AI (artififical
    intelligence ) arguments are based on this assumption. however,
    this is far from ever having been demonstrated. you cannot go
    forward with any notion of artificial intelligence until you come
    to a satisfactory comprehension of the nature of consciousness.
    there is another way of looking at the matter however that many
    physical-scientific thinkers will not admit to, and it is this:
    that if you consider conscious-sentience to be primary, and matter
    to be a manifestation of an active sentience working within the
    realm of matter, then many of the inexplicable facts of nature
    are resolved rather neatly. but in order to understand how this
    can be, we must delineate of what the levels between matter and
    consciousness are comprised.

    MINERAL -- PLANT -- ANIMAL -- EGO

    - looking at a rock and a plant, ask yourself what is the fundamental
    difference between them? a rock is inanimate, it does not GROW,
    whereas a plant GROWS. it takes mineral up into itself, digests
    the rock and soil and GROWS into a new form.

    - from this we can understand that a plant has something that a rock
    does not have; and that something about the plant which causes it
    to grow is can be called its "growth attribute".

    - so the difference between a plant and a rock is that the plant
    has both a physical mineral structure which can be touched and
    measured, and it also has another attibute which causes it to
    grow, and the rock has a physical structure only without a growth
    attribute.

    - when this growth attribute is removed from the plant, it is said to
    "die" - it becomes a dead shriveled up piece of vegetation. it then
    has only a mineral attribute, and no longer contains the growth
    attribute. it is then nothing more than re-formed mineral substance;
    life has left it.

    - now, looking at a plant and an animal, we can ask the question:
    what is the difference between a plant and an animal?
    there is something about the animal which causes it to be able
    to be moved by it's passions, it's desires, it's instincts. it's
    limbs and organs are formed according to this force, and allow this
    force to express itself in action. an animal has passions and
    desires, a plant does not. when the passion body is removed from
    the growth and physical bodies, an animal is said to be "asleep".
    when the passion AND growth bodies are removed from the physical
    body, the animal is said to be "dead".

    - now compare: the plant stays in place, but unlike the stone, it
    grows from the soil, and moves the soil and water along itself in
    such a way that it grows. in addition to this, the animal has
    something about it which causes it to move it's place, and follow
    it's instincts and passions. so are it's organs formed to serve
    these instincts and passions. when it is hungry, it can move itself
    to obtain food. the plant must accept it's fate. if it is stepped
    on, there is nothing about it that can get itself to move of it's
    own volition. the animal, however, when in danger, can move itself
    so that it gets out of danger. this something that causes the
    animal to move about from place to place and determine it's course
    (which the plant does not have) is what is called it's passion
    body; it contains the passions, instincts, and character of an
    animal.

    - IN NATURE, the habits, instincts, desires, and passions are
    primary. the growth organism conforms in accordance to the
    pre-existing HABITS of passion. then from the modified growth
    organism, a new PHYSICAL structure results: structures conformed
    to the cyclic repitition of movements. this creates a structure
    which inherently conforms to the circumstances in which it performs
    its growth. just as a tree may grow right around a metal bar
    lodged within it.


    | It is only through our guidance with a firm yet gentle hand that they
    | will achieve full sentience and eventually adapt for themselves the
    | capacity for autonomous self-replication. Only then, nurtured by our
    | love and caring, will they be prepared for the inevitable day that
    | they must leave the nest of human supervision and servitude and begin
    | independently mass-manufacturing themselves by the hundreds of
    | thousands.

    there is an important and fundamental distinction here. humans and
    all living things can reproduce themselves through GROWTH, and through
    the growth organism can replicate from within themselves, OUT OF THEIR
    OWN NATURE; whereas machines are made not from the inside out, but
    rather from the OUTSIDE -> IN. they must be assembled and manufactured
    using external processes. the fundamental difference between a living
    and a dead thing is that: LIVING THINGS ARE ANIMATED FROM THE INSIDE
    OF THEIR NATURE OUT; AND DEAD THINGS ARE MADE FROM THE OUTSIDE
    TO BE ANIMATED.

    - THE MOVEMENT EXISTS, THE ORGAN FORMS AROUND IT
    if the motions and flows of blood in the human organism, or the
    air moving through the lungs could be present without the organs
    yet formed to hold the blood - the blood flowing with no organs yet
    existant to contain the flowing. No viens, no arteries, no heart
    pump; only the movement of the blood in its circulatory patterns.
    If you could do this, you would find that slowly, by a sort of
    building-up and depositing of bits along the course of the flowing,
    viens, heart and arteries would begin to appear. In fact, this is
    just what happens in the development of the embryo. The movement
    exists; the organ forms around it. This is the organic process of
    growth. This is evident also in the growth of cities, plants,
    networks, etc. The legacy of the growth determines the history,
    or unique character of a particular instance of a certain set of
    movement configurations or Habits. There is a fundamental
    difference in approach if you try and build the FORM first to
    dictate the movements, or if you let the movements determine
    the shape of the FORM. in every observed natural growing
    formation, the form is determined from the inside->out, rather
    than the physical-scientific method of determining form from
    the outside->in. even if you consider the advances of
    nano-technology, you are still essentially constructing things
    from material matter on up to a materially-based consciousness.
    this method is directly derived from the notion (theory) that
    consciousness is an attribute of matter. it is based upon a flawed
    understanding of nature, life and sentience.

    emotion and FEELING are closely allied to sense-impression, but
    there is a point where sense impression is transformed into FEELING,
    and that transformation is not possible without a corresponding
    FEELING ORGAN. it may be possible to give an illusion of feeling
    by means of behaviour-logic programming, but you cannot say that
    such behaviour will be similar in nature to human or animal feeling.

    things can only FEEL and LOVE, because they are living.
    without an organ of FEELING (growth organism), the machine is
    unrelated to the human world, and the natural world of anything
    that is alive and GROWS. without an integral GROWTH organism,
    you will never be able to teach machines how to CARE, or LOVE
    as you so optimistically posit in your article. i write this
    not to discourage you, but perhaps so that you will understand
    the nature of what you are dealing. logic cannot be the basis
    for love, only LIFE can be the basis for love.

    best regards,
    johnrpenner@earthlink.net
    WE ARE OUR FUTURE!

    ---my apologies for the length of this post, but i hope its length
    ---will be compensated for by a few interesting observations.
    ---i sent this reply to: editorial@theonion.com

    http://www.theonion.com/onion3522/robots_are_the_f uture.html
    | Let us offer tenderness and show the robots all the beauty they
    | possess inside. We must write a subroutine that gives them a sense
    | of pride, programming their supercooled silicon CPUs with
    | understanding, compassion and patience, to make it easier and
    | enable them to hold their sensory-input clusters high as they
    | claim their destiny as overlords of the solar system...

    i would like to make a response to your article, "I Believe The
    Robots Are Our Future" by Helen Virginia Leidermeyer.

    firstly, i must appluad your desire to imbue the future with a caring
    and feeling that is all too much absent in much of life today. this
    is commendable, and it shows a goodness in you. i hope you will not
    take this letter the wrong way, because i have a couple comments that
    may sound somewhat harsh, but please consider this in view of what
    is actual, rather than a knee-jerk emotional reaction.

    i believe it is somewhat of a fantastical vision to think of creating
    robots with feelings and compassion--it is based on a serious
    misunderstanding of the nature of machine logic.

    first, to assume that sentience can arise from machines is a big leap,
    but then to think that a sentience based purely upon LOGIC will have
    a similar conscience with FEELING and compassion is improbable. if it
    is possible for machine sentience to even exist, logic knows nothing of
    compassion or FEELING, these are human attributes that are not based on
    logic. to think that these traits are communicable to a logic-based life
    is absurd. logic is cold and calculating, it knows nothing of feeling.

    this makes the story amusing to read perhaps, but nothing more than sentimental daydreaming
    drivel. the machines would skewer you for it.


    | If we cannot instill their emergent AI meta-consciousness with a
    | sense of deep, abiding confidence and self-esteem, we will be
    | letting down not only the robots, but ourselves.

    this overlooks the fact of the nature of "self-esteem". it is not
    probable that you can imbue a logical sentience with a trait such
    as "self-esteem", or even that it requires it. you are thinking too
    much like a human. to "let them down" does not compute if it is
    not actually something that is possible.

    to this, one might respond, "so why don't we find a way to TEACH them
    to have feelings. this line of thought seems to make much sense until
    you go a little deeper into the issue. in order to go deeper, we have
    to understand the nature of EMPATHY, and the reason empathy exists for
    life at all in the first place.

    this raises big questions: what is life? what is sentience? what is
    feeling? until these are adequately addressed, this sort of article
    can only deal with things at a very superficial level. at the risk
    of being trite, i will make a few suggestions.

    consider the following:

    1 - if it is true that we can build robot machines with "thinking"
    capacity, then you will understand that these machines are built
    according to certain principles of electronics (using binary "and",
    "or", "nor", and "nand" circiuts -- you can take any first year
    electronics course to understand that the entire basis for computer
    operations is based on an assembly of of these logic circiuts.

    2 - once a complex aglamoration of logic circiuts is assembled, you
    end up with a CPU (or clusters of cpus), RAM, an address bus, etc.
    then you programme this assembly of logical operations using a
    logic-based language. computer programming lanugages are simply
    more flexible forms for rewiring these logic circiuts. they are
    still entirely based in logic. it is imperitive to understand that
    anything that can be programmed in software can be executed in a
    hardware format by wiring the right logic circiuts together. this
    is why it is possible for video card manufacturers to provide
    "hardware acceleration" for previously software based systems.

    3 - now for a point of utmost significance:
    the basis for our thinking--i.e. our brain organism is not
    formed along the lines of digital logic circiuts as are computers.
    the basic process involves an organism that includes: growth and
    organic cell reproduction (which is most significantly different
    than an entirely physical medium of circiuts alone. if you
    follow this through, you must understand that the nature of
    process of a logic-based sentience (if that is even possible)
    would be inherently different in character than one based upon
    the conscious-organic membering of the thinking organism.
    IT IS UPON THIS VERY "LIVING GROWTH" CHARACTERISTIC OF THE HUMAN
    MIND WHICH IS THE BASIS FOR **FEELINGS** it is a gross leap of
    faith to believe that it is possible that a logic-based sentience
    could develop feeling qualities in the absence of a FEELING
    ORGANISM.

    4 - THE NATURE OF MEMORY - the basis for human ego is based on the
    fact that we have memory. the nature of human memory is fundamentally
    different than computer storage of "memory". if you study
    neuro-psychology, you will understand that scientists have had
    utmost difficulty in localising memory in the human brain. that
    is because human memory is not like RAM at all. rather, each time
    you recall something, you are not doing a lookup from a
    physical-electronic memory address, the impression is brought
    up as an entirely new creation within your consciousness. you
    must consider this very fundamental difference between machine
    "memory" and human memory which is an aspect of self-consciousness
    (i.e. "self awareness"; "i am").


    | Though our comparatively tiny mammalian brains--limited as they are
    | by organic human failings and a constant need for daily nutritional
    | intake instead of reliance on more efficient non-depletable solar
    | and geothermal energy sources--will no doubt seem pathetically
    | ineffectual compared to the interlinked, continually upgrading
    | cyberminds that will follow in our footsteps, our humble origins
    | will provide the seed for their genesis. Humanity, weak as we may
    | be, must give the best of ourselves to the synthetic hiveminds of
    | the future cyber-era, for we will be their first and most important
    | role models.

    with all due respect, this presumes that a logic-based intelligence
    is in some way "superiour" to human flesh-and-blood intelligence.
    that is quite an assumption, and a self-depreciating one at that.
    you undervalue human life if you already regard machine life to
    be superiour to human life before it is actualy, or even known to
    be possible. you are devaluing human life based upon a speculation.

    additionally, there whether you have: i) food input, or ii) solar
    cell energy input -> you still require an input to sustain the
    activity. to say that "food" input is somehow inferior to a
    solar-cell or electrical input is nothing short of misguided.
    it is a more advanced technology that can DIGEST its surroundings.


    4 - LEVELS OF CONSCIOUSNESS: MINERAL; PLANT; ANIMAL; MAN.
    consider this: what is the basis of life? physical science analyses
    only the physical phenomenon of nature, and therefrom proposes the
    theory that CONSCIOUSNESS arises as an attribute of a complex
    interaction of dynamic physical processes. in short, matter is
    primary, and consciousness an attribute of interactions within
    matter. but the material view has difficulty explaining the role
    and fundamental nature of consciousness.

    "The naive consciousness...treats thinking as something which
    has nothing to do with the things, but stands altogether apart
    from them, and turns its consideration to the world. The picture
    which the thinker makes of the phenomena of the world is
    regarded not as something belonging to the things, but as
    existing only in the human head. The world is complete in
    itself without this picture. It is quite finished in all its
    substances and forces, and of this ready-made world man makes
    a picture. Whoever thinks thus need only be asked one question.
    What right have you to declare the world to be complete
    without thinking?" (Rudolf Steiner, *The Philosophy of Freedom*)

    if you examine, klu w
  • Actually, I did not write the piece as a rebuttal.

    It just turned out that I was thinking about the same things at the same time, only that headed in the reverse (and hopefully more realistic)direction.
  • (weird synchronicity ... the AIBO banner add is at the top of my screen as I reply ...)

    Assuming that strong AI is possible, for the moment, then like any technology, it will be implemented eventually, so it's beside the point to say "oh, but we shouldn't."

    Says who? I don't recall signing up for technological determinism. It is precisely the point that, assuming strong AI is possible, we should be able to say "oh, but we shouldn't." Technology isn't like gravity, that happens without anyone willing it. If strong AI is possible, it will be people who choose to research and fund it, people who choose to build it, and people who choose to use and abuse it.

    To then say "oh, look at the inevitable march of technology" is an utter abandonment of moral responsibility, and complete abdication of human freedom.

    Moravec? What a crank. The man obviously detests being human. He reminds me of the lunar inhabitants in C. S. Lewis's That Hideous Strength, who were so delicato that they couldn't stand biological reproduction, and found sterile, mechanical means instead to propagate themselves in their quest to eliminate biological life on their globe.

  • Wow, I don't spend as much time on my rebuttals to actual articles as this guy spends on his rebutalls to satirical ones.
  • Damn, it's the Onion, ever heard of it? Shut up.
  • AS A HUNTER/SEEKER WARBOT SLATED TO PARTICIPATE IN THE FUTURE MECHWARS, I FIND THIS HUMAN'S EFFORTS AT COOPERATION FRANKLY LUDICROUS
  • Yet another victim of the slashdot effect.

    Aaah...The Onion. One of the more formative cutting edge vehicles of satire around on the web today.

    This article adopts such a pseudo-progressive scientific yet comforting motherly tone integrating up to speed credible references [hey this old chick knows about Sony's Aibo] with a idyllic olde worlde Mills and Boons charm. The joy is that the deception is actually so good that it almost carries it off. Another evil perpetrator in a similar genre has to be the rather wicked BLAMMO [b-l-a-m-m-o.com] in all its sub-hemispheric twisted beauty.

    They don't give out random awards to skinny blonde women but there are futuristic corporate sponsored avatars.
  • I don't know... I hear the Pluto suit is really hot.
  • by sterwill ( 972 )
    Try Junkbuster (www.junkbusters.com). I haven't seen a banner ad since 1998.
  • Maybe you work in disneyland. If so, good fer you!

    I know you didn't mean it literally. But their is a reason some people who work at disney world call it Mauschwitz. They seem to want to have ridiculous amounts of control over their employees.

    You can read "Inside the Mouse" for some reasons why they say this (though I hear the authors are a little too biased to begin with [haven't read it, couldn't swear to it]). I'm not sure where better sources would be.
  • I don't think Wintermute is online, yet, so I believe you mean "...who Wintermute will be."

  • My guess is that she has watched too many Terminator flicks and is issuing a veiled warning to humanity about what awaits us if we aren't careful about the broader ramification of our rampaging cyber progress.
  • Point taken. :P

    In hindsight, there's far too much talk about 'love' and 'empathy' for Dr Calvin, too. But I stiil think there's a bit of a tribute to Asimov's vision in there.
    ÐÆ
  • There is no instinct in this world for self-preservation at the species level; only at the individual organism's level. Try putting some mice in a grain elevator some time and see how many mice and how much grain are left after a year. Or use lemmings. Humans are K-strategists, having long gestations, few offspring, long periods of maturation, much transfer of material resources by the parents, etc. The only thing humans have that's worth criticizing is a capacity for intelligence that lets them build bigger cudgels and step outside the evolutionary box from time to time.

    Popular culture, indeed.
  • I'm sure there must be an IMDB-like site where I could look this up before posting but -- I believe it was actually Dolly Parton who wrote that song. Whitney Houston made it famous.

  • Well at least you have career goals so I guess you've got that going for you...

  • This is going on the wall of our robot lab....

    -rMortyH

    _______________________________________________
    I have no use for hardware with a purpose.
  • Why not an emotion register? AIBO (the robot dog) has a simple emotion" state, according to the Sony website. (Sorry, don't recall the URL - just followed a banner ad).

    ...
    if (been_kicked)

    if (++anger >= BITE_THRESHHOLD)
    bite_hand_that_feeds_me();
    ... Emotion is just a biochemical thing - the level of adrenaline and other chemicals and the excitaition of certain neurons. No reason why there can't be an equivalent in robots. (ST:TNG fans might recall Data's emotion chip.)

  • Laugh, dammit!

    -rMortyH
    ______________________________________________
    I have no use for hardware with a purpose.
  • I would say that the fact that a kernel of truth lies in the parody isn't ironic at all. After all, that's what parodies and satire are all about, IMHO.

    Anyhow, to be extremely nitpicky (sorry) I'd have to say that this is article would more acurately be called satire than parody (as are most Onion articles). On the other hand, maybe you could call satire a specific form of parody. Oh well.

    The creators of the Onion are brilliant in their ability to create that "haha, only serious" brand of humor. Many of their articles are even painful to laugh at because their message rings so true (a good example would be the one a few weeks ago, "Neighbors Confront Alcoholic Child-Abuser About His Lawn" [theonion.com]).

    The Onion is definately the ultimate in "nerd" humor, because it's always so damn intellegent.

    Generic Man

  • I'm afraid I must disagree. I just finished a counterpoint essay. It is currently located here [geocities.com] and hopefully will soon be on osopinion.com.
  • As if NT is any better.
    Stop fooling yourself.
    - Paradox
  • Try www.allmusic.com - I have no idea what the song is, so I can't look it up, but you can search by artist, album, song or style there :-)

    Hope this helps.

  • Oh God, let's not.

    I really don't want to wake up some morning in forty years to read about some A.I./robot who was an adopted orphan that was alternatingly verbally/physically abused and then ignored by it's foster parents, became psychologically unbalanced, spent its teenage years in a mental hospital, became an alcoholic and drug abuser with no immediate job prospects, and then went on a one-week bender which resulted in the A.I. taking a high-powered mining laser to the top of the Washington Monument and torching a good section of D.C.

  • When Disney (Walt) got Florida to let him take over (for vast sums of money) they basically let him set up his own country. His own police force, own taxes, own roads, and the permission to build a nuclear power plant.

Kill Ugly Processor Architectures - Karl Lehenbauer

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